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NY zoo apologizes for keeping black man caged for 114 years

The Bronx Zoo in New York issued a statement apologizing for having kept a black man from Central Africa, Ota Benga, caged with monkeys and exposed it to visitors to the park for a week 114 years ago.

The Wildlife Conservation Society, the organization that runs the zoo, said it “deeply regrets that many people and generations have been hurt” and that it recognizes “that open and systemic racism persists, and our institution must play a bigger role in tackling it” .

According to the North American CNN, Benga, who belonged to the Mbuti people of the current Democratic Republic of Congo, was exposed in the zoo’s House of Monkeys for several days in the week of September 8, 1906. In this period, he would have been authorized to leave the cage a few times.

Ota Benga began to resist and threaten workers and visitors to the zoo. He was released after local black officials expressed their indignation and demanded an end to his arrest. A reverend sheltered him in an orphanage and, years later, he committed suicide.

As part of the apology, the Wildlife Conservation Society andis making all records and files related to Benga available.

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